BEYOND THE MARK (Mark Bautista, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

When news came out that Mark Bautista would finally address the rumours surrounding his sexuality in a juicy tell-all memoir, I had mixed feelings that included: 1) coming out is now a cash cow? (nakakahiya naman kay Matt Bomer), 2) wow, that’s really brave of him (although admittedly, he’s no longer at the peak of his career), 3) which other celebrities will he name-drop? (aside from the obvious ones, hello Fafa!), and 4) I hope it wouldn’t just be one big black book of secrets.

Fortunately, there was more to it other than the controversial chapter(s) reserved until the latter part of the book (and even more content relative to the recent crop of local celebrity bios). It was interesting to read his anecdotes about growing up as a confused kid and his struggles before becoming a successful artist (I especially liked his touching story about winning Php500 on a radio trivia contest and the instant ramen shopping spree that he and his family made with the cash prize huhu!). There was obviously more to him other than his sexuality so it was a bit jarring when it suddenly turned into a salacious confessional that wouldn’t seem out of place on the pages of Fashion Pulis.

The book felt a bit rushed (too many typos including a couple of references to “A Night for a Star”) and needed a bit more polish (after discussing his win in that contest, it jumped a full decade into his London career; plus too many mundane, rambling details like the diss on East Avenue General Hospital). The supposedly revelatory chapters didn’t really go into too much detail (except for the Friendshift one that would only come as a surprise if you never watched The Buzz). I also found it a bit odd that he had pictures of him in various states of undress between chapters even while discussing serious topics like, say, his newfound Christianity.

Overall though, it was still an honest and refreshing read about a local celebrity that just wanted to be open and free and ultimately accepted and loved unconditionally. So who’s next?

Rating: ★★★☆☆